Rockies-Braves: Marquis Tosses Gem Against Former Team

Bob LockeContributor IMay 18, 2009

DENVER - APRIL 26:  Starting pitcher Jason Marquis #21 of the Colorado Rockies delivers against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field on April 26, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. Marquis earned the win as the Rockies defeated the Dodgers 10-4.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Jason Marquis pitched eight outstanding innings and Chris Iannetta chipped in a run and an RBI in a three-run top of the ninth as the Colorado Rockies toppled the Atlanta Braves 5-1 at Turner Field on Monday evening. 

Marquis had his sinker working to maximum effectiveness against his former team. The Rockies turned four double-plays behind him while only seven outs were recorded on fly balls. Marquis walked three and struck out three, giving up just five hits while tossing 103 pitches.

The Braves had a couple of good scoring chances, but couldn't get a key hit when they needed it. They had runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the first before Garret Anderson hit into the game's first twin killing.

In the home half of the fourth, Atlanta loaded the bases with no outs via two singles and a walk. Casey Kotchman promptly rolled into a 4-6-3 double play that plated their only run of the game. Jeff Francoeur followed with a routine fly ball to center and the damage was limited.

Atlanta had only one baserunner the rest of the game.

Braves' starter Derek Lowe, attempting to become the NL's first six-game winner, also pitched eight effective innings, giving up two earned runs on only three hits. He struck out three and walked one but took the tough-luck loss.

Centerfielder Dexter Fowler put his speed on display in the sixth. He legged out a double on a flare to left-center, moved to third on Troy Tulowitzki's grounder to first, and scored on Todd Helton's groundball as he beat Kotchman's throw to the plate. Fowler had driven in the Rockies' first run on a groundout in the third inning.

Leading 2-1 going into the top of the ninth, the Rockies scored three insurance runs against the Braves bullpen to break things open.

Eric O'Flaherty relieved Lowe to begin the inning and was greeted rudely as Tulowitzki singled to center on the first pitch. O'Flaherty didn't help himself with a throwing error on Helton's comebacker, moving Tulowitzki to second.

Right fielder Brad Hawpe had an eight-pitch at-bat that concluded with a fly ball to left, and Bobby Cox brought in Peter Moylan to face Iannetta who wrapped an RBI single to left.

Ryan Spilborghs, who had entered the game for Seth Smith in the bottom of the eighth, followed with his own RBI single to center, scoring Helton with Iannetta moving third. Spilborghs stole second and, after an Ian Stewart line drive to second, advanced to third when Chipper Jones misplayed a Clint Barmes ground ball into another run for the Rockies as Iannetta crossed the plate.

Garrett Atkins, recently removed as a starter by manager Clint Hurdle, struck out on a foul tip to end the barrage, dropping his average to .194 on the season.

Closer Huston Street, who appears to have found his 2005 Rookie-of-the-Year form, needed just seven pitches to retire the Braves in order to end the game. Street has not allowed a run in ten consecutive appearances (nine innings pitched) dating back to April 26 and has lowered his ERA from 8.59 to 3.86 over that span.

The win lifts the Rockies' record to 15-22 and drops the Braves below .500 at 18-19.

Jason Hammel (0-2, 4.62) takes the ball for the Rockies tomorrow. He will be opposed by Jair Jurrjens (3-2, 2.06).